4 more deaths linked to romaine lettuce, 2 in Minnesota

Four more deaths from eating tainted lettuce reported

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is investigating the outbreak alongside the CDC, believes that the probable link to all these illnesses is romaine lettuce sourced from the winter growing areas in and around the Yuma region in Arizona.

Still, the CDC warns that iIllnesses that occurred after May 6, 2018 might not yet be reported due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.

Unlike spinach, which is often cooked, romaine - and lettuce in general - is more common as a culprit in E.coli outbreaks because it's eaten raw.

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In addition, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the case count: 197 people from 35 states were sickened. At least 89 people were hospitalized. In a June 1 advisory, the agency said that four additional deaths were reported in Arkansas, North Carolina and NY in addition to the original death in California.

The growing season there ended six weeks ago, and it's unlikely any tainted lettuce is still in stores or people's homes, given its short shelf life. The last reported illness began on May 12.

Officials urge anyone who thinks they may be ill with an E. coli infection to see their doctor.

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Romaine lettuce grows near Soledad, California, U.S., May 3, 2017. Symptoms can include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and severe stomach cramps.

It is the largest USA outbreak of E. coli since 200 people fell ill in 2006. While almost 90 percent of those who fell ill reported eating romaine lettuce in the week before they were sickened, some told the CDC that they did not personally eat the lettuce but were in close contact with somebody who did.

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